Reflections on the DISCs Project
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK | 23 April 2020
For me, the DISCs project created a welcoming and supportive space for me to critically engage in the kind of teacher I am, what I need to work to improve, and the wider consideration of the role of Higher Education in raising and working through societal challenges. In my first year of full-time teaching, it gave me the opportunity to consider the kind of educator I strive to be and learn from colleagues with a wealth of experience.
I put myself forward as an advocate, as while I considered myself engaged and passionate about social justice issues, I was also concerned that I tended to avoid topics that I felt I had no authority to speak on. Looking back, I perhaps felt uncomfortable in my ability to bring social justice concerns up in a way that was respectful and correct. From the initial DISCs project team interview and meet up, it became clear to me that the team and advocates were passionate about education and social justice, and very open to creating a learning space for everyone involved. This allowed me to consider my own teaching style and what aspects of its design and delivery I needed to improve. The DISCs team, particularly through the 1-1 teaching assessment, provided practical suggestions as to how to de-colonise my curriculum, encourage active participation in class, and to be more aware of the experiences and independent that students bring to the classroom. I was reassured that as long as I was open and committed to continuously improving and educating myself, I was on the right track. I feel more confident now in being pro-active and realise that me being comfortable is not conducive to using my own position to elicit change.
I am very grateful for this experience, and it was uplifting and encouraging to spend time with people who are dedicated to education and facing the societal challenges we face in a proactive and inclusive way.